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Lockheed Martin on the future

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U.s. 33, Us 18, Israel 7, Steve O'bryan 5, Navy 5, Steve O'brien 4, The Navy 4, Florida 4, Elliott Clements 3, U.s. Navy 3, Washington 3, China 3, Virginia 3, Arlington 2, Frank Oliveri 2, Lockheed Martin 2, Pentagon 2, Afghanistan 2, Russia 2, United States 2,
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  CSPAN    Lockheed Martin on the future    Series/Special.  

    August 25, 2013
    4:15 - 5:16pm EDT  

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president. luisratic representative gutierrez will be in chantilly, virginia for a town hall meeting to discuss immigration policy. the representative is among a group of seven bipartisan members in the house working on immigration legislation. the town hall gets underway at 1:00 p.m. eastern. >> our topic for the next hour, the future of the f 35 fighter jet program. the pentagon is planning on building over 2400 of the aircraft to be used by all branches of the u.s. military for a total estimated cost of $1.5 trillion. o'brien,s is steve vice president for program integration and business development. welcome to the program. let's begin with where you are at. what is the purpose of the demonstration center?
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guest: it is built to show the difference of the f-35. the capability provided, and the avionics as well as the range. we have simulators of the f-35. it is a way to communicate this quantam leap in ability. host: who are you demonstrating it to? who visits the fighter demonstration center? guest: we have the navy, marine corps, and the air force. we also have eight international partners. we continue to add more partners, more countries to the program. israel and japan have committed we see the airplane. another set of countries buying the program or buying the airplane in the years to come.
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this allows us to communicate that difference in washington, d.c., to the decision-makers on the program. host: you have visits from members of congress as well. what is the purpose for them to see the center? guest: they can fly the simulator and they can see the technology and the jobs. f-35 has 125,000 direct and indirect jobs, building the f- 35. these are high tech aerospace jobs that will be part of our aerospace industry for years and years to come. they are building high technology avionics. they are doing things with software that make this a next- generation airplane. they are also building it for airport. we have about $50 billion of export value.
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host: let's talk about the history and the goals of the f- 35. what is its mission?when did it begin? guest: the program was built to recapitalize the fighter forces that are out there today. look at the last 20 years of operations, whether it is bosnia or libya. --ghter aviation enables air maritime operations and land operations. our fighter force is getting older. we have 40% less fighters after desert storm. that fighter force is getting older. today the average age is approaching 25 years old. look at the potential threat that is out there today.
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russia and china are working on no less than three fifth- generation fighters that are flying in generation today. they are advancing surface to air missiles to take away this advantage of the fighters we have had in the united states for years and years to come. we need to invest and we need to the f-35 does that. it is those eight partner countries. it brings the next-generation technology. this allows our pilots to go where they need to go when they need to go. this builds on the technology in the f-22 and advances it 10 years along. it brings increased range. it is stealth where it needs to go and is advanced avionics to use the advantage of the technology.
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it's the excess range to go further than we have before. that is the advantage of the f- 35. host: all the different branches of the government are going to have a variation of f-35. how will they differ across the branches? what are the challenges for making a different one for each of the branches? guest: they have different it is made to take off and land from -- it is a short takeoff and vertical landing. it is meant to land and take off facilities.nary for the u.s. navy version, it is made to take off and land off of catapults and arresting gears
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with tail hooks. the challenges are on the unique requirements associated with the different airplanes. are outor the f 35b, we for the second time at the uss ,oss, doing short takeoffs taking off with over 40,000 pound aircraft in less than 500 feet. coming back and landing night and, at sea, in a time. we are doing those operations today. we did them last night and yesterday. for the u.s. navy variant, we are taking off and landing off of big aircraft decks at sea. yesterday, we did catapult operations at naval air stations in patuxent river. that tends to be a challenge. we are also building a fifth- generation airplane. firsts the first --
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stealth airplane for the marine corps and the navy. it will allow them to do missions they never have done before. it is redefining multirole fighters. i flew some missions that were air to air missions or air to ground. ef 35 will expand the mission set. -- the f-35 will expand the mission set. you will be able to do electronic attacks. you will be able to do intelligence operations, reconnaissance operations tommy even command-and-control operations that you've never seen on a fighter jet before. that's the value of f-35 in redefining the multirole fighter. we are able to do it across all three services and do it in a much more efficient manner. why is southwest airlines so successful? they fly a single airplane. the pilots are trained on a single airplane. the maintenance crews are trained on a single airplane. they are much more efficient. that is the value of the f 35.
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now you have avionics that are common through the three services. you have a single supply chain on those avionics and propulsion systems. you have an airplane that provides the next leap of capability and is common across the three u.s. services. but it does not stop there. you have the partner countries in israel and japan joining. we are sharing the burden. we are sharing that national security and cooperation among our best allies in the great air forces of the world. that is the value of f-35 and would rings to national security. post: what is the topic, the future of the fwe are joined by steve-35. o'bryan. we will take your questions and comments in just a minute. republicans, 202-585-3881. democrats, 202-585-3880.and 202-585-3885.
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we have a fourth line for active and retired military, 202-585- 3883. let's talk about the cost of the f-35.according to the government accountability office and congressional quarterly, total estimated program costs now is $400 billion, nearly twice the initial cost from original estimates. why is that? guest: right now we're driving the cost down.certainly, this program has had its challenges. underestimated the complexity of the production, development, and tests. but the program is on track. we're driving the price down. from the first year of production to the seventh year of production, we have reduced the cost of the airplane by over 55%.we are not satisfied there. we are going to continue to drop this price of the airplane as the u.s. government estimates note that, in 2018, the average cost will be $85 million, about $75
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million in today's dollars. that is in line with older- generation airplanes. it is a quantum leap in capability. we are focused on reducing the cost.we have been on track for the last three years. we are continuing to focus on reducing into about the same price as a fourth-generation or prior generation of airplanes out there today with a quantum leap in capability. host: back to the costs from the gao. 316 billion dollars in development and procurement spending now through 2037. that's an average of $12.6 billion per year. the per claim cost estimates have climbed from $81 million in 2001 to $161 million today. operation and sustainment costs alone will exceed one dollar trillion over the
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fleetboston lifespan. -- the fleet's lifespan. respond to those numbers. guest: i think this airplane is cost effective overall. it will replace three different make models of airplanes. those three airplanes have three separate supply chains and seven they have a different training pipeline. they have all of this different, separate infrastructure. will replace those airplanes with just one f-35b and one pilot. the commandant said in front of congress that will save the nation almost one dollar billion -- $1 billion per year. we are replacing a multitude of airplanes in the u.s. and we are doing this with a single type of avionics to drive down the cost. the international component -- now you have eight partner countries and japan and israel
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contributing $5 billion to the development of the airplane. they also contribute to the they drive down the price of the airplane for the u.s. to the tune of about $26 billion. every airplane for the u.s. services is $10 million less because of the international participation.we encourage interoperability. i flew jets in combat operations.our international allies -- our capabilities were inoperable. now with the f-35, our best allies are going to have the same airplanes, same capabilities. the value will be extremely high for coalition operations. andt is what the f-35 brings. that is how it brings smart recapitalization. host: let me get to phone calls. stanley in utah, go ahead.
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caller: i have a question. how does the 35 stand up against does it have the stress factoring that the f-22 has? is it like the f-22? guest: they are made to be synergetic. the only both stealth. 2/5-generation fighters out there today. generationo fifth- fighters out there today. they both use different avionics. they are made to work in concert. f-22 is an air-to-air airplane. like intelligence gathering and command and control. those are the things they f-35 does.
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it is made fores. our international allies as well. eight partner countries.israel and japan. we believe more countries will join the program in the future. it is the synergetic factor that f-35 and the capabilities it has, and it is made to operate with the f-22 in our best air forces around the world. host: john is retired military in jacksonville, florida.you are up next. caller: how are you doing today? good morning.my two questions are -- how much longer can we sustain i am retired f-16? from the local air guard wing. we have f-16's. what about the countermeasures? -- the countermeasure devices that the f-35 will have? will be comparable to the russians?or will it be better?
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guest: thank you. we doan we do?-- what can to recapitalize our fourth generation airplanes. just like the car that you drive. those airplanes were designed in we needon administration. to recapitalize these fleets to maintain and outpaced the threat. you are buying the f-35 not just for today's threat but for the next 50-plus years.the airplane is made to be reprogrammable and made to be upgraded from the beginning. so, it is a software-intensive airplane designed to be upgraded, designed to outpaced the threat. the f-35 continues that advantage. the f-35 is designed to do that. we start at a head start above any adversary. we have been doing stealth airplanes far longer than in china and russia.when you look
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at the f-117, the f-22, the be- two, the f-35 builds upon that technology. that you need to continue to build and invest and maintain the advantage because the threat is not stagnant. the threat continues to understand and evolve. the f-35 is built to do that, not just for the three u.s. services but for our eight international partners. this allows us to continue to outpace the threat.that's why this is the right airplane for our national security in the next 50-plus years. host: we have a tweet. "the f-35 is the new f-22 and neither will ever see any real combat mission." guest: ian tell you -- can tell you where production is at today. we have over 100 airplanes that have rolled out of the factory. we have 75 airplanes flying today.we are at six different basing locations throughout the united states. we are at naval air station pax
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river. we are down at eglin air force base in florida. we have operations going on with operational airplanes at marine corps air station yuma as well as nellis air force base, edwards air force base. we are at the uss ross today on the east coast of the united states doing short takeoff and vertical landings with the f- 35b. we have eight countries under contract to buy the f-35. this is an airplane that is continuing to progress. we continue to do flight tests. we are dropping munitions out of the airplanes today. air-to-air missiles. we have our laser guided bombs. they are precision error-to- ground weapons. -- air-to-ground weapons. those are being dropped off of f-35 today. we are increasing the production and dropping the price.we are deploying the airplane to many locations. we believe the f-35 is
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progressing toward initial operating capability for the u.s. marine corps. we our focused on doing that in 2015. host: 2015 is when they will be ready for war?or some type of mission? in 2015, the united states marine corps has declared that is their targeted initial operating capability. we have an operational squadron. there are jets landing and taking off off an amphibious ship. they are training and operating and we are upgrading the airplane to be ready for combat should the nation require it, and support the marine corps in that endeavor. host: peter from new york on our republican line. you have to turn the television down. talk to me through the phone. you are on the air. what is your question or comment? caller: when will the f-35 be ready to go into combat?
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host: you just said 2015. is it just for one branch of the military? guest: 2016 for the air force. they are setting for operations. -- setting for operations right now. by the beginning of next year, we will be deploying airplanes or moving airplanes to the luke air force base in arizona, as well as the next operational aircraft. the u.s. air force is planning on having a squadron of 12 to 24 airplanes that will be ready for combat as they declare their initial operating capability. again, this will be a stealth airplane, on airplane capable of doing precision air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. it was built for range. it has twice the amount of fuel of the airplanes it is replacing. it is upgraded avionics. it takes what we have that i--
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what we had in the airplanes that i flew and puts it in a fifth generation capability. this allows you to do what you need to do where you need to do it with the advanced avionics and long-range to do it in many different places. that's the beauty of the fand we are providing to our- 35. allies.they, too, will have that initial operating capability before the end of this are -- and of the century. host: we will keep talking with steve o'bryan. we will keep taking your phone calls and getting your questions and comments. pedro is live from the center to talk more about the technological uniqueness of the f-35. host: we're at the f-35 demonstration center at lockheed martin.if you were to go around and come across the spacious building here, an you would come across the f-35 cockpit demonstrator. it is probably the closest thing
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you'll see to flying an f-35. what is most impressive is what is inside the cockpit. joining us is elliott clemence. thank you for joining us.>> happy to be here. host: i see a lot of touch screens instead of switches and dials. why is that? guest: having a touch screen reduces workload for the pilot. back in the old days, there is around 150-plus knobs and that keeps the pilot very busy. screen,r as the touch how much work load is reduced? guest: with the touch screen, your workload is greatly reduced. you can focus on the tactical situation.you can have enhanced situational awareness which affects your survivability. to put that in a different perspective, if the pilot is not
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as busy with knobs and switches and trying to control precisely where his radar is looking, and he can pay more attention to the big picture and be more lethal as a tactical pilot. host: some of the controls that you do -- this tells you your fuel. if you were to push this, it tells you your weapons capability. this is the overall function of the plane. walk us through some of these other things. guest: this is our tactical situation display. this is our primary display for employing weapons tactically. synthesized here is information from all of the sensors in the airplane, presented to us in a very simple and coherent format. it allows the pilot to go ahead and make good decisions and employee weapons. over here, we have our infrared search and track. over here, we both are infrared sensors. >> this gives you a sense of
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what is going on outside? >> yes. it is very easy to access, and it is very intuitive to operate. what happens if the electronics fail, as they sometimes do? >> this is a replica of the actual cockpit. we have a panoramic display that is divided into two parts. if one computer goes out, the next one will take over. we have a fair amount of redundancy. this is a standard side stick throttle. those interceptors have various switches and knobs. the pilot doesn't necessarily have to touch the touchscreen while flying. switchs one particular
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by your finger that operates a voice recognition system, so we can talk to the airplane and give it commands. >> all that goes to the idea of reducing the workload? >> correct . display isd of necessary for the architecture of the airplane. variouslane has centers. it has electrooptics of sensors -- electro-optical sensors. we need a big touchscreen like the one you see here. >> if it blanks out, what happens? >> if both computers and screens went down, you would have this little standby flight display to fly off of.
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that would allow you to return to your base. for someone who flies this, what is the learning curve? >> it is different. for me, training time was very minimal. 10 hours in the simulator. some academics. the june -- new generation, they will adapt to this very quickly. us.e will be with tease the folks about the next segment. this is not the only display in the airplane. our helmet acts as a functional display as well. or going to talk about how that works and the sensors integrate into the helmet. >> elliott clements with us.
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this is the test simulator. thank you. back and talkgo about the different aspects of technology that goes into the f- 35. report'brien, the gao talk about the different challenges that go into the technology for the f-35. thegao reports that one of biggest headaches is the lagging effort to write the complex software that is needed. can you respond to that? is the keytware challenge. this airplane carries 8.6 million lines of code. prior generations of airplanes only have about one million lines of code. we have about 86% of that code
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flying today, we have coded over 95%. the key challenge is the integration of it and the flight test. we have done a number of things to enable that to arrive on time. we added about 200 software engineers to the program. we added over $100 million labs to the program. we added airplanes into the flight test program. we attack the problem and challenge for the entire value stream. the results are extremely promising. we have done the first three loads of the next generation of the software on time this year. we have done the critical design review for the next bit of software. that capability is out there flying today. we are doing night landings on the uss wasp.
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we are flying the airplane at high angles of attack. the software is very stable. it is performing well. we understand there is a key challenge in front of us. we added the resources and personnel as well as the talent throughout our corporation to make it successful. this is a key challenge. we are adding resources to deal with it. explain why this is being manufactured before it has been completely tested. one of the key challenges we had was doing development production and flight tests at the same time. we really underestimated the challenge associated with that. together with the u.s. government, we reduce the profile to where we are today. we put resources in approximately three years ago. the results are extremely promising. as the secretary of defense said in front of congress, the program is on track.
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we are producing the airplanes under cost from what the u.s. government estimates are. we reduce the price of the airplane from the first year to the seventh year of production by more than 55%. we have six different basing locations where we are operating 35.y -- the f- to reduceken measures concurrency, or that development program, and the results demonstrate we have been on track for the last three years and are reducing cost ahead of the u.s. government. >host: what happened in the past that made these costs go up? "l.a. times" reported, the per plane cost has doubled. has hadhis program
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challenges in the past. i can tell you what is happened over the last three years. that is a program that is continuing to hit milestones. we have completed our durability and static test. we are flying the mission systems of the airplane, working the radar, electronic attack at ranges. we have verified the stealth attributes of the airplane, and how it enables operations into the future. we are really hitting our milestones. we are driving down cost in front of the u.s. government estimates. this program is on track. we do have challenges in the future. we are prepared for it. we have resources for it. we are fixing those problems. host: retired military, independent caller. if drone technology and cruise missiles are already proven and effective, why do we
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need something like the f-35? we put men at risk. we are continuing the military industrial complex. for your question, and service. when i talk about drones, they'll have a purpose, and cruise missiles as well. see the value of drones is in missions where it is not physiologically possible for pilots to go for the extended time the does not make sense. you see that in long-range reconnaissance, high-altitude missions. fighter airplanes are core to our national security. drone aircraft relies on datalinks, and a highly dynamic downloaded.to be it's not a question of whether
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these airplanes -- they're are not really unmanned. their uninhabited. the manpower is there. the cost is there. we can't jeopardize our security by having our datalinks jammed. do that.allows us to it provides capability to keep our pilots safe in a stealth airplane, fifth-generation to have, and allows us a man or woman in the loop to are those decisions that core and a wartime environment. we believe that the f-35 is the right answer to maintain the capability above any thread adversary for not only the u.s. services, but our best allies. host: independent line, steve in littleton, massachusetts. caller: as i listen to this, i think poor steve o'brien must need medication to sleep at night. all we hear about is national security.
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it is becoming a nightmare. it is if -- it is as if the u.s. is the most deceased nation on earth. theocation is all over globe in the interest of the military-industrial complex. president eisenhower warned about this. soldan, it appears he has his soul to facilitate constant mass murder. bread,e world needs is not bombs. housing, security. not f-35's. lockheed martin is focused on implementing and helping with the policy of the u.s.. we are focused on giving our best to our war fighters out there, young men and women. i can talk about the last 20 years of operations. freedom,orm, iraqui
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bosnia. fighter airplanes have been core competency to implement in u.s. government policy as well as protecting our young men and women, not just in the air, but on the ground. 's maintain that advantage for years to come. pilot, i canighter tell you that stealth airplanes gives you an advantage that doesn't allow a fair fight. basically invisible to enemy airplanes, and you have a first look, first shot. you're able to win any engagement we have great and to deter any -- have. and to deter any engagement we have. advanced avionics, as well as the environment we are operating in, in a dramatically better fashion than we have in prior
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fashions. we believe these are core to what we are doing, protecting our troops and giving them the best technology we have available. militaryes is retired in michigan, independent. hello. is thatrn for the f-35 -- i worked on the flight deck of the kennedy back in the 70s -- 1970's. i've seen the evolution of the multi-role fighter craft. it doesn't have a good track record. specific airplanes do a than a one plane, all missions type of aircraft. thank you. thanks for your question, and service. over 20 years.or
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the f-35 is designed to do more than air to air and ground to ground. it is the miniaturization of technology that we have today, that allows us to do so many different things. have, that it we flew -- we had a single radar dish. has over 1000. it allows electronic attack. it is a sensor in terms of the tolity to hear and listen electronic warfare signals. we are able to do so many different things. stealth enables us to do that. in air to ground, we are able to go where we can't go. in the electronic attack, imagine getting closer in a stealth airplane to provide more power to disable or disarm the enemy out there today. with the reconnaissance, still
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allows us to get closer to areas of interest, take pictures. and then patch it to the national security apparatus. , through stealth, to be able to do the things we haven't done before as well as the range to go places that other fighter airplanes cannot, that allows the f-35 to redefine the multi role fighter. good.dvancement makes it not just to recapitalize the u.s. navy, but the air force, marine corps, and our allies in the future. gary is watching, on the republican line. caller: you mentioned eight countries are involved. what are the other six countries, other than israel and japan? kingdom,e united
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netherlands, norway, australia, italy. those are the country's under contract. as a partner program, we have canada as well as denmark are part of the partnership. at a latere to buy date. these are the world's great air forces. this is what drives the two court -- two-part tenets. i was a former navy fighter pilot durin. no longer do you have separate electronic warfare, radar. all the different upgrades you have to do to software just for a particular navy airplane. navy.u have it for u.s. then you add the international partners, japan plus israel, in
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a software intensive airplane. that means everyone contributes to the development. everyone contributes to fair share. 100% of the capabilities are given to the entire partnership. that is the value of the f-35. host: explain the international sales process. how do these countries by the f- 35? are they buying it through the u.s. government? a government to government agreement. they buy the airplane through the u.s. government and the program office. the u.s. government is creating these partnerships, not just with the eight international partners on development, but japan and israel. this is government to government am aware you foster international relations. you have political relationships, industrial relationships.
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and then you have military to military relationships. for airplane enables these, years and years to come. when you talk about coalition operations, that is really where f-35 excels. i have participated in a number of coalition operations. imagine having to get parts from different countries, and then think about it with f-35. now everybody has a common supply chain to pull from. in libyaare operating and desert storm, iraqi freedom or afghanistan, now you have a common fleet with next- generation capabilities driven to drive down the lifecycle costs of the airplane. that is the core value proposition behind f-35. not just today, but for the next 50 plus years. host: we will continue to take your comments and questions for steve o'bryan. we want to go back to pedro e echevarria.dro
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we have been talking about components of the f-35. now, another part of pilot gear, the helmet. this looks like any ordinary helmet. but elliott clements, tell us why this is not like any other helmet. >> this is the f-35 helmet. is that nott unique only does it protect your head, it displays video. the normal airplane we have today, we have a head up display, 15 degrees field of view that protects your head. with this helmet, you get 360 degrees field of view, and you can display sensor video in your visor. >> what i am seeing through this helmet, you can see here.
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tell us what is being seen and what information you're getting. we have a replica, example of what we see through the helmet in the cockpit. that areix sensors mounted in the fuselage of the f-35. the display infrared symbology and video. that video is turned into your helmet and displayed on your visor. you can look through your cockpit, anywhere around and see that infrared video. thef you were to look at screen and i point down, instead of looking at the bottom of the cockpit, what am i seeing? are seeing this synthesized combined image of all of the sensors on the airplane. only makes us to not targeting much easier for the pilot, but it turns the night into day.
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pilots have greatly enhanced situational awareness and the ability to do things they never could do in legacy aircraft. >> to get these perspectives, you would have to physically turn the plane. >> correct. in the older plane i flew, you would have to roll in on the target to make sure that your weapons are designated on the target. with this helmet, we simply need to look down and make sure we are targeting the right threat. >> what happens if this should short out? would this impede your ability? >> no. we have large levels of redundancy. if it were to go out for some reason, we can still operate the airplane and deploy weapons and come back and let the airplane safely. >> talk about the learning curve. you talked about there is a certain learning curve for pilots who grew up or flew other planes -- on or flew other
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planes. >> it takes a little bit of getting used to, but you learn very quickly how to use it. mission and a night you want to find your wingmen, it is simply a switch in the cockpit that you toggle over. you get the sensor video over there. when you want to go back down into your display for weapons deployment, you can touch that switch again. >> it's another part of the f-35 system. elliott clements, thank you again. host: we are live from the lockheed martin fighter demonstration center in arlington, virginia. steve o'bryan is there as well, vice president of the company. heard abryan, we just little bit about the helmet and technology being used. according to a report from the
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pentagon recently, there has been problems with this technology. from radars that don't, too blurry vision from the aircraft's to an inability to fly through clouds. the report which includes pilot comments and picture of the jet nowhere near ready for relief operations. guest: it is a development program. our job in a development program is to find problems as early as possible and fixed them. that is what we are doing. if you look at the secretary -- secretary of defense and his testimony, he said the program is on track. as we work through these problems, we are continuing to fly the airplane. you can see that confidence coming through in the services and the initial capability decisions. the u.s. marine corps are held fast in 2015, and the u.s. air force has accelerated their initial operating capabilities to 20 1600 this is a problem
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that finds problems, fixes problems. you can see that in the pace of development and flight operations. we have completed nearly 9000 flight hours on the f-35 program. last 12 months, 50% of those operations have taken place. we are increasing the production of the airplane. last year, we deliver 30 airplanes. deliver 36.e will we are increasing the production, the pace of flight operations, and the development. what i hear from the pilots is they truly see the next generation capability that they have in the f-35. host: the problem with the helmets have been resolved? today, we have flown the helmets successfully on every flight is 2007. that is nearly 9000 flight hours. when you talk to the pilots and go down to akron air force base in florida to the marine corps air station, they tell me they
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love the helmet. resolve whatd to were the technical difficulties earlier in the program, as we do in the development program. we have eliminated what is called the green glow, we have eliminated a latency challenges , the keyairplane challenges, and we look forward to a decision on the f-35 helmet and whether it will be the sole helmet that this airplane has and what it brings in terms of next generation capability. less we have a little bit than 12 minutes with steve o'brien. program note. tomorrow, we are going to be talking with cq defense reporter frank oliveri about the future of the f-35. what happens when china gets on the web, downloads the plans, and builds the f-35 at?a fraction of the cost? guest: i can tell you the f-35
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revives a unique capability. we protect that capability, as with any crown jewel in the u.s. military inventory. the f-35 is designed and to outpace the adversaries out there. we build upon the f-17. we build upon the b-2. allows us to continue to upgrade the airplane, continue to expand the capabilities without expensive hardware changes, and we use what is the economies of scale with three u.s. services, aid partner countries, japan, israel, and a growing list of internationals. this allows us to focus the effort on upgrading the air -- the airplane, continuing to outpace the threat, and having that advantage over any potential adversary that can be out there today and tomorrow.
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william is next in cyprus, texas. caller: i am curious to know, why are the american people believing anything this guy says when he works for lockheed martin? it is unbelievable how they believe what he says. we cannot afford anything right now. why are we spending so much money on a plane we do not know if it really works? it is a most ridiculous. this guy here, he is unbelievable. i cannot believe that we are going to spend money on a fighter that we do not need good host: steve o'brien, -- not need. host: steve o'brien, what about not being able to afford a plane during times of economic fragility and spending cuts and washington? caller: this plane -- guest: this claim is essential to our national security. the airplanes out there were originally designed in the nixon administration. they are getting old. the average age of u.s. air
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force fighter is approximately 24 years old today. we have reduced that size of our fighter force in the u.s. air force by more than 40% in the last 20 years. made to smartly recapitalize what is our core competency, with a capability that is built for the next 50 years. it needs to be upgraded. we need to do it smartly. we need to bring in international components to do it, not only to draw down the price of the airplane, but to share the burden of national security and cooperation now and into the future for the next 50 years. designed to do that. we have it on a production line, a moving assembly. we have our supplying chains built to build 200 airplanes per year and do it efficiently. as the u.s. government estimates show, we are going to recapitalize our fighter force at approximately the same cost as prior generations of airplanes. that is the value behind the f- 35.
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nexto it with the generation capability. that is why it is essential to our national security, for the next 50 years. host: as sequestration had an impact on the f 35 rollout -- f-35 foll -- rollout? guest: sequestration, for us is the topic du jour in washington dc. my crystal ball is broken like most people's in washington. i am not sure which way is up. for the f-35 program, what we are focused on his execution. we are focused on delivering our milestones and delivering on development to support the initial operating capabilities for the u.s. marine corps, air force and navy. we focus on things that we can control. that is reducing the price of the airplane. the last three contracts we signed recently were well below the u.s. government estimate and the trend continues to deliver
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this airplane below the estimate for approximately the same cost as prior generations of airplane. that is where we are focused. it is the levering that capability to our young men and women who need it to continue to outpace potential adversaries out there today. host: speaking of sequestration, earlier this month, a defense analyst was asked about the f-35 and spending cuts. here is what he had to say. >> what is going to happen with that airplane is it is going to die a slow agonizing death. its procurement budget is going to start getting squeezed. the number of dollars in the f- 35 budget cannot be afforded. as that starts to get squeezed, the factory is going to be even slower. is going to become completely unaffordable.
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it will become even more of a disaster. host: steve o'bryan, care to respond? guest: i can only talk about the facts. we have eight countries under contract. we have 235 airplanes under contract. that is more than the entire f- 22. we delivered 30 airplanes last year. we will deliver 36 this year. we are dropping the cost, a 55% reduction from the first year to the seventh year and we will continue to do that to recapitalize our fleets for approximately the same cost as last generation airplanes in accordance with the u.s. government estimate. i see an f-35 that is
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accelerating. i see production ramping up and i see the cost dropping. host: our line for republicans, jack is retired military from florida. go ahead. caller: i was a p-38 pilot in world war ii and i love lockheed. when i was 22 years old, i went up in a 38 and said, here i am a 22-year-old and a hundred thousand dollar airplane. now, these things are unbelievable in the cost. my question was, why can't the marine version and the navy version be the same where they are both short takeoff and landing? don't pay any attention to that clown that called for me. he is an idiot. thank you for your service. i will hang up now. caller: jack, thanks again for your call and for your service.
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the p-38 hour the viewers might not know was the lightning one. the difference between the navy version and the marine, the navy version is built to operate off of catapults and wires with tail looks. the marine corps version has a band in the front of it and the engine uses a three bearing swivel nozzle. that allows it to do a very short takeoff and landing. in terms of short takeoff, this is less than 500 feet without the catapult. is able to come back and the land in very small spots. both are built for different purposes and different basing locations. they have unique attributes that are made to operate for the two u.s. services.
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they are common where they need to be, and. the real things are in the cost the avionics and the propulsion system are common throughout the two variants. that commonality allows for repair at the same places of allows interchangeable parts that are common and allows us to drive down the supply chain and the cost. also, there is a version made for international countries. italy will operate a version. there are other harrier operators out there that may use the f-35 as well. these are made for different basing locations but they
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maintain commonality where they need to to reduce the cost of ownership of your claim. host: the caller talked about flying a p-38 and put the price tag then at about $100,000. the parenting cost of the f-35, estimates have climbed from $81 million to $161 million today. you have been saying over the last hour that rice will come down, where will it settle at per plane? caller: that is the airplane, the engines, all the systems and changes we have to do. we have reduced that price from the first year of production to the seventh year of production by 55%. we are signing contracts below estimate. the u.s. government estimate shows that in 2018, the average
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price of the f-35a, the largest variant, will be about $85 million which is approximately $75 million today. that is the key, we are signing contracts well below the estimate and we estimate that will continue for the foreseeable future. really, what we are getting is an f-35 for approximately the same price and cost as a prior generation of airplane with a huge leap in capability. host: steve o'bryan is the vice president of business developer and at lockheed martin. thank you for joining us this morning in arlington, virginia. we appreciate your time. guest: thank you for having me. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] host: joining us now, frank oliveri of cq roll call, thank you for joining us. we are continuing a conversation we started earlier this week on the f-35 joint strike fighter. what is it and what is its role?
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guest: it is a multirole fighter meaning it of air to air, air to ground, it is sort of like the swiss army knife of fighters for the air force, navy, and the marine corps in the future. nine of 10 of our allies are currently signed up to by the plane. it will replace f-16's, f-15's, you can name someone to claim that this plan will hopefully replace. can do everything. host: why the need to replace the planes we currently have? guest: current plans are almost 25 years at this point you're the air force and the marine corps have not really had any kind of a hedge planted to update the planes that had to any great degree. a lot of stuff they had dates
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back to the 80's and 90's and they need to get those things moving on. very high operations tempo over the last 10, 12 years with wars in iraq and afghanistan. host: what is the cost of this project, and how does that compare to costs from previous play the united states has undertaken to build? guest: somewhere around $400 billion give or take. there is some been -- there have been some decline in the cost and the actual lifetime operation sustainment costs had recently been reported about 1.1 trillion dollars, which is something like 30% higher than anybody would have hoped. they have been able to knock that down about 22% because that they have gone into the flight test program, they are learning more and more about the systems and how they work and what breaks more often, what brings less, and how many people are required to fly the lanes and so on. those types of things are giving them more granularity as to their cost. host: have there been concerns about cost overruns for this project? guest: significant. it was supposed to cost for the entire program of 2443 we